I hardly saw any movies last year – there just wasn’t much that grabbed me, and I think television has well and truly surpassed movies for quality viewing these days. I’m sick of sassy Disney princesses and fed up to the back teeth with superheroes, and I couldn’t care less about Sandra Bullock floating around in space. There were a couple I really enjoyed and highly recommend, though.
The Kings of Summer has a very misleading trailer. You think you’re getting some whacky comedy about a group of kids with overbearing parents played by (among others) by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. While it’s true that it’s about a group of kids, and it is funny, and the kids do have overbearing parents, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are in the movie for maybe 5 minutes each.
The story itself is a pretty standard coming of age one – these are the best years of your life, chicks are awesome but then they ruin everything, your family isn’t really as bad as you think they are, yada, yada. What sets it a cut above is the charm of the three boys. Gabriel Basso in particular has been one of my favourite young actors since that scene in the first season of The Big C where he finds the storage locker with all of Cathy’s future presents for him. The Kings of Summer is lovely, funny and touching and worth watching - especially with a teenage girl because they just get so into those kind of movies and it’s rather sweet.
The Way Way Back is another coming of age film, written by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, and very loosely based on some of Jim Rash’s experiences growing up. A teenage boy spends the summer at the beach house of his mother’s new boyfriend – Steve Carell playing very much against type. The boy stumbles into a job at a water park run by Sam Rockwell and staffed by a group of easygoing weirdos. Again, this is a standard storyline about finding somewhere to belong, finding your way through the stumbling blocks, choosing your own path and so on. It’s more overtly funny than The Kings of Summer – Jim Rash and Nat Faxon are both pretty hilarious people. But there’s still enough gooey heartwarming stuff going on to make you feel all ‘Awwwwww’ by the end. I really loved this movie – it’s the best I’ve seen for a really long time.